Afro Connect: Winners of Diversity Visas for 2020 Get Some Relief

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On Tuesday evening, August 17, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the Biden Administration to issue 9,095 diversity visas from Fiscal Year 2020 that the court reserved nearly a year ago.

Due to Trump’s immigration ban, thousands of families from all over the world-including Afghanistan-have suffered excruciating uncertainty, missed opportunities and cruel indifference. The court orders the government to issue 9,095 reserved diversity visas for 2020.


In Gomez v. Trump, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Justice Action Center (JAC) and Innovation Law Lab, together with pro bono support from Mayer Brown LLP, filed a lawsuit challenging the entire Trump Administration’s immigration ban.

Plaintiffs included diversity visa winners as well as family-based visa applicants and employers of nonimmigrant foreign workers. Jesse Bless, AILA’s Director of Litigation, said: “AILA is grateful that our class representation will provide relief for the thousands of families who will now enjoy the opportunity to live in the United States. We hope that this win will encourage the government to take immediate action to help so many others seeking the same opportunity.”

In addition, at the end of September 2020, approximately 40,000 out of 55,000 diversity visas available for Fiscal Year 2020 remained unissued due to the State Department’s illegal suspension of visa adjudication. At that time, Judge Mehta ordered that the U.S. State Department reserve 9,095 diversity visas for future processing pending the final resolution of the case. Almost a year later, this court order means that these visas will finally be issued to individuals throughout the world who will undoubtedly make a positive impact in our communities.


Judge Mehta’s opinion grants the Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment on multiple claims, finding that the government’s policy of refusing to process DV-2020 applications was unlawful; that the government inappropriately excluded DV-2020 applicants from expedited, “mission-critical” visa processing; and that the government unreasonably delayed and withheld adjudication of DV-2020 applications.

In accordance with the immigration statute, the court orders the government to process all reserved 9,095 diversity visas in random order. Negotiations are underway between the parties to determine an expected visa issuance date.

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